Philippians 1:9-11 – A Prayer for You

Read Philippians 1:9-11

girl praying

Imagine Paul just prayed this prayer for you. Paul was asking God to provide these things for his friends. Even if Paul didn’t particularly have you in mind, all these years later let me direct this prayer to you. I’ll use Paul’s words because they are just that good. And timely.

Am I the only one that feels overwhelmed when I turn on the news? I’ve started getting my news from a Christian source that has already sifted through all the noise of the media to pick the stories that seem to be most fact-filled. As a writer, it’s hard to admit that other writers (journalists) are seemingly being manipulated by society to write with a certain slant or bias. Have you noticed that the same stories sound different depending on who is telling the story?

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December 20 🌟 Will You Be Sleeping? (Micah 5:2-5a)

Read Micah 5:2-5a

Bethlehem manger scene with nativity and star

I was just thinking today about how many things had to fall into place to put Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem at the right time. When Micah declared these words, did he realize he was predicting the birthplace of the Messiah hundreds of years later?  What a marvelous orchestrator God is! How can we ever doubt him!

The promised eternal king in David’s line would come to live as a man. He will “stand to lead his flock with the Lord’s strength, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.” This prophecy was referred to by Herod’s advisors when he was greeted by the wise men of the east after Jesus’ birth. This small, obscure little town has made history and will forever have a place on the map!

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December 8 🌟 Shout It Out (Isaiah 40:1-11)

Read Isaiah 40:1-11

A man with his hand near his mouth, mouth open as if shouting

I have the song “Comfort Ye My People,” from “The Messiah,” running through my head now. While this is a tenor solo, and I was an alto, I treasure precious memories of singing with my dad in our church choir growing up. Handel’s Messiah has a special place in my heart. The words of Isaiah in this passage are clearly the inspiration for that musical selection!

How do these words speak to you today wearing your “Advent Lenses”? We probably recognize the “someone” shouting in the wilderness, to be John, centuries later from when these words were written. “Clear the way through the wilderness for the LORD!” I’d like to think that we, too, can be messengers trying to clear through the “gunk” in this world to make a way for Jesus to be known.

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December 6 🌟 The Son of Man Will Come – Matthew 24:36-44

Read Matthew 24:36-44

empty penches along a sidewalk with pink flowers and trees behind

In our Advent reflections, Matthew now weighs in on the return of Jesus. We’ve read through the accounts of Mark and Luke and noticed some overlap. Here again, there are similar themes. As a disciple, Matthew would have had a front row seat to Jesus’ foretelling.

The news Jesus shared about his return would have certainly been hard to believe. Not because Jesus himself is unbelievable, but because the people hearing would not be used to having people go to and from heaven. Death was usually a one-way street. But Jesus’ death was not final. He rose from the dead and then ascended into heaven. Jesus is alive!

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December 5 🌟 Your Salvation is Near (Luke 21:25-36)

Read Luke 21:25-36

Woman walking into a tunnel with bright lights at the other end

If we were wondering what to look for, Jesus clears it up for us in today’s passage. As we are walking through Advent together, it’s easy to get caught up in the distractions of the Christmas season. Magnificent as Jesus’ birth was, that was only Jesus’ first coming. He is coming again, too!

When he does, he will bring our salvation. At last, we’ll have our ticket to live with God forever, forgiven, and free. It’s the hope we have in this promise that keeps us going when we feel burdened, fearful, or doomed.

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